Sampling overdrive gone awry
Agreed, if you’re launching a new product, especially a cookie, it calls for a big sampling exercise. And what better to get people to try it over coffee?
When Good Day Cookies started promoting the Classic Cookies collection at Barista outlets near you, it seemed like a perfect fit. Little jars greeted you at every table, inviting you to try them out.
You’d think, “Free Cookies!” But unfortunately all these jars were tightly lidded providing no access to the delicious cookies inside. Now, if you want people to sample your product, why would you create a barrier in the form of a tightly closed jar? Even the counter didn’t have any cookies to give out, citing delivery issues by Good Day. What a tease!
The next time we were at a Barista, something interesting caught our attention. The jars had actually been pried open by (irate) customers. So, we opened up a jar and pulled out a cookie. What did we find?
Cardboard?! That’s a cardinal mistake.
And as I walked into more Baristas, I found more vandalized jars. Curious people would have reached into the jar expecting a cookie, but they found cardboard instead. Disgusted, they would have just let the cardboard cookie be, (and probably cursed Good Day and Barista in the bargain)
The truth was out there for everyone to see. Good Day’s image was taking a beating, and I kept wondering why no one was doing anything yet?
It looks like the company straightened out it’s logistics and other issues. Sure enough, the next time I went in, I was given a free cookie with my Americano.
Following this activity for over a month and seeing how it unfolded makes me think of a few questions.
1. Why couldn’t Good Day just keep all the jars open and let people try their cookies? The money spent on this would only be a fraction of money spent on building salience in mass media. And if you try, you will most likely buy. Simple.
2. If you have dummy cookies in the jar, tell the consumer what to anticipate. Don’t disguise them as real cookies. It’s a losing bargain once the cat is out of the bag.
3. Why didn’t the Barista management clean up the vandalized cookie jars? That reflects on the Barista chain too. It is already facing heat in the coffee segment, and has lost its leadership position to Cafe Coffee Day. With this debacle, it only shoots itself in the other leg.
Sometimes, you don’t need marketing muscle to pull off a successful campaign. Merely, a little observation in the right direction goes a long way to help you drive sales.
What do you think?